Out of all the different kinds of TV series you can watch, medical shows always seem to be some of the most entertaining and highly rated. Most of these shows come with layers of character development and plot wit that you simply won’t encounter in a typical sitcom or drama. In fact, one of the best aspects about a good medical TV show is that it will usually provide a nice mixture of all the main film genres, from laugh-out-loud comedy to edge-of-your seat suspense.
Unfortunately, a few weeks of binge-watching your favorite medical series can quickly have you searching for a replacement. The problem is, you don’t want to jump at the first suggestion because you could wind up wasting a few hours watching several episodes only to realize that you’re not really impressed. If you’ve been looking for the next great medical show to keep entertained, look no further than the following well-curated list of the top medical shows that are still on the air:
1. Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife is a British medical period drama that’s set in the 1950s-1960s, following the lives of a group of midwives, nurses, and nuns. This show is a hidden gem that’s worth checking out. It has received high ratings since it first aired in 2012 and is expected to air for at least a few more seasons. It’s not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, but those who like period dramas are sure to love it. The show offers a fair amount of familiarity to viewers who are pursuing a nurse midwife education or are already working in the field as a midwife. At the same time, the directors have done an amazing job bringing nostalgia to the table by accurately re-creating the look of a very unique era.
2. Grey’s Anatomy
Greys’ Anatomy is a medical series that’s been a household name since its highly successful debut season in 2005. The show is about an aspiring surgeon named Meredith Grey, the daughter of one of the best surgeon’s in the world, Dr. Ellis Grey. Each episode is an impressive production that follows the daily life-or-death battles faced by the doctors and staff at Grey Sloan Memorial hospital. Medical students will notice that the show’s name is a spin-off of a classic medical textbook called Gray’s Anatomy.
3. The Resident
The Resident is a relative newcomer to the genre, having only debuted in 2018. The summary follows the typical plot of following a group of doctors through their daily lives working at a hospital. In this case, its Chastain Memorial Hospital, where the show’s main character is an optimistic yet naive young doctor who is shown the ropes by a brutally honest senior resident. This series hints at some of the inconvenient truths about the downsides to modern medicine while also showing that there are still good doctors who try to do the right thing, which brings us to our next suggestion.
4. The Good Doctor
The Good Doctor is centered around a young surgeon named Shaun Murphy, an autistic savant who had a troublesome childhood. He winds up relocating from his home town in Casper, Wyoming to work at the bustling St. Bonaventure Hospital in San Jose after being hired by Dr. Aaron Glassman. It’s an interesting tale that unfolds as his new co-workers initially doubt his abilities only to see his genius revealed later on. The show is currently in its third season on ABC after receiving rave reviews since it first aired in 2017.
5. Chicago Med
Chicago Med is the fourth show to emerge from Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise – the other two are Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. (although there was a single season of a fourth show called Chicago Justice back in 2016). If you enjoy the style of production in this franchise, you’ll definitely be a fan of Chicago Med. As you can imagine, the show follows medical personnel and hospital staff as they navigate the challenges of working at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center. All three Chicago shows air consecutively on Wednesday nights, so by the time you watch an episode of each, it’s like you watched a full movie.
6. New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam is one of the newest highly rated medical dramas on TV. The first episode aired on September 24th, 2018 and sparked a wave of public interest in this now-hit series from NBC. The show is based on Eric Manheimer’s book Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue, following the life of Dr. Max Goodwin as he becomes New Amsterdam Medical Center’s newest medical director. Revolving around his work and personal life, the plot allows for plenty of drama as Dr. Goodwin’s wife Georgia is pregnant and there are all sorts of relationship dynamics involved.
7. Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R. is a docudrama that re-creates dramatizations of life-or-death situations that have happened in real emergency rooms. The show moves back and forth between the narration of the true story and the re-enacted versions. Each episode packs a unique combination of highly interesting and shocking life-threatening scenarios. It has been on the air since 2004, so there’s a good chance you’ve already seen an episode or a clip from this show. In fact, it’s been around long enough for there to be compilations of some of the best scenes on sites like YouTube.
8. License to Kill
License to Kill is an investigative journalism series that covers the stories of patients who have had their lives put into jeopardy by doctors and healthcare professionals. This show deals with the dark sides of the medical industry like malpractice, negligence, maliciousness, prescription mix-ups, and other common but potentially deadly mishaps that happen in hospitals and clinics. This is technically part of the crime genre because the actions committed by the doctors in question are downright criminal in most of the stories.
9. Doc Martin
Doc Martin is a British medical comedy that stars Martin Clunes as Dr. Martin Ellingham, a socially awkward doctor who leaves London to pursue a job in a humble village in Cornwall. The storyline and the show itself are based around a character named Dr. Martin Bamford from the movie Saving Grace. In contrast to the other more serious and dramatic shows on this list, this is a great series to get into if you’re looking for some light-hearted humor from a doctor’s perspective.
10. Carol’s Second Act
Carol’s Second Act is a medical comedy with a unique and interesting plot, following the life of a retired teacher as she ventures into the medical field as a doctor. The show stars Patricia Heaton as Carol Kenney. Overall, it’s a much funnier show than it appears to be on the surface. It’s also one of the newest medical comedies, having just launched its debut season in 2019. This is sort of like the American female version of Doc Martin in that they’re both the top medical comedies right now and they both follow the lives of doctors who are adjusting to new environments.
11. General Hospital
General Hospital is one of the longest running medical shows in history, with its debut season happening way back in 1963. When the show first started, it was mainly about the drama that happened inside the hospital. Nowadays, the soap opera has evolved into much more and the hospital itself is rarely a primary component in most episodes. The show follows a diverse group of friends, families, lovers, and enemies as they experience the drama of navigating life Port Charles – a bustling city in upstate New York. This show is known for going over the top in drama, and every once in a while, they’ll sprinkle in an episode that still revolves around the hospital.
Casualty is a long-running British medical drama that airs every week on BBC One. In fact, it has been airing longer than any other medical drama in the world and is therefore a pioneer in the genre, with its debut season happening back in 1986. The show follows the hectic lives of medical staff and patients that work at and visit the emergency room at Holby City General Hospital. This series has been instrumental in paving the way for other medical dramas and shows that center around emergency rooms.
13. Holby City
Appropriately, the next suggestion on our list, Holby City, is a spin-off off Casualty which follows the lives of the patients, doctors, and staff who work in the cardiac unit of the same hospital – Holby City General. The show came into existence in 1999 and has more than 1,000 episodes. Between this and its predecessor series, you’ve got more than 2,000 episodes of British medical drama just waiting to be watched. This one is not as highly rated as Casualty but it’s a must-watch for anyone who is a fan of that show.
14. The Doctors
The Doctors is a bit different from the other shows on this list because it’s a talk show that hosts real Q&A sessions with real doctors. A panel of doctors get together and answer sensitive questions from viewers. Often, these questions will be about topics that someone might be embarrassed to ask their actual physician about in-person. This show has been on the air since 2008 and has more than 1,600 episodes. This is an ideal series to follow you’re a medical student who wants to learn more about common issues that many patients are hesitant to discuss in a clinical setting.
As the name implies, 9-1-1 follows the daily drama that surrounds a group of emergency personnel, including dispatchers, paramedics, police, and firefighters. Categorized as an action/drama/thriller, this one isn’t strictly a medical show, but it’s often ranked as such because there are many scenes that center around paramedics and emergency medical situations. In other words, you’re bound to encounter some great medial drama in this show. Despite only having premiered in 2018, the show already has about 15,000 reviews on IMDb and an impressive accumulative rating of 7.6 at the time of writing.
Doctors is a British medical soap opera that has been airing on BBC One since 2000 and has more than 3,800 episodes, making it one of the most prolific and extensive medical series on TV. The show is set in a fictional town called Letherbridge, which is portrayed as being within the city of Birmingham in the show. This series is popular with surgeons because it follows the lives of medical staff who work at a University Campus Surgery and NHS Doctors Surgery. If you’re into drama that centers around surgery and patient care, this would be a perfect show for you to watch in your spare time. The producers do a good job of emulating the real-world surgery environment to make each episode feel convincingly real and relatable.
17. Silent Witness
Silent Witness is a crime/drama/mystery show that follows the lives of a group of forensic pathologists and scientists as they imagine and re-create crimes in their minds based on clues found at the scene. This show really shows you how forensic specialists are able to use medical evidence to paint a clear picture of what happened to an individual in retrospect. With its premiere happening back in 1996, the show has amassed more than 210 incredible episodes of thrilling content, earning it an impressive 7.8 rating in IMDb across more than 4,800 reviews.
Pick Three That Look Interesting and Watch an Episode of Each
Now that you’ve got an extensive list to base your search on, here’s an extra tip that will help you find your true favorite faster: Narrow down your list to three of the suggestions given above and then watch the opening episode for each of them back to back. That way, you’ll be making an informed decision before you commit to watching an entire season of a medical show that you’ve never seen before.